Tuesday, 19 November 2013
Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Romans 12:15
This admonition is straight-forward and something anyone can and should both grasp and participate in. Paul gives a life example of this same thought to the Corinthians in his first letter to them –
“And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.“1 Corinthians 12:26
Rejoicing with those who rejoice develops a bond of love simply because it shows that what makes them happy also makes us happy. We unite in a new way when we share such uplifting times. In the same way, when someone has tragedy, loss, or difficulty then showing empathy to their situation can only increase the bond between the two, though it may be delayed more than during times of joy. Grief often takes more time to process than joy because grief can completely overwhelm every other emotion and thought. This is why it’s so important to demonstrate empathy at these times.
Jesus gave us examples of both for us to emulate. When He gave the disciples authority and power as laborers in His ministry, we are told they came back “with joy” at the marvels which had occurred. Then this is noted, “In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit…” (Luke 10:21). In the same way, those who were at the tomb of Lazarus were in mourning. Jesus likewise mourned with them, showing empathy for their plight. In the account it says, “Jesus wept.” (John 11:35).
If the Lord can so fellowship with His people, then we can and should as well. Let us endeavor to participate in the joys and sorrows of those we are united to in the body.
Life application: Demonstrating empathy at sadness and showing joy at others’ victories and times of happiness can only build them up. Remember that at some point each one of us will have the same times of joy or sadness and we will hope for fellowship at those times too.
Heavenly Father, Jesus walked among us and rejoiced with those who rejoiced and He wept with those who were filled with grief. Please grant me a heart that has the ability to unite with others in this way. When they are mourning, I can help them through with tears of understanding. And when they are filled with joy, I can be there building them up in their bliss. Grant me this that the church will be edified in this way. Amen.